Shelf-climbing robots are helping warehouses meet the holiday rush

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They may not have a red nose but what they do have in common with Santa’s reindeer is the ability to fly — well, almost.

These autonomous robots, created by French company Exotec, are designed to help warehouse staff pick items from shelves up to 12 meters high. While there are other robots working in warehouses across the globe, what makes these different is that they move vertically.

“When they climb in the rack, they go at 1.5 meters per second, so this is a very fast piece of equipment,” says Gilles Baulard, Exotec’s executive vice president of sales.

Baulard says that being able to collect items from these heights means a warehouse needs less space to fulfill its orders.

This particular warehouse is operated by Monoprix, one of France’s largest retailers, processing 45 million sales each year. Exotec’s system is designed to easily adapt to peak times, like the holidays. When sales are high, it’s a matter of just calling in reinforcements.

“They doubled their fleet of robots to face the surge of throughput during that season,” explains Baulard. “Putting (in) more robots is a bit like hiring new temporary employees.”

Partnering with brands like Gap in the US and Uniqlo in Japan, Exotec’s system currently operates in 24 facilities, with 17 others being installed worldwide. So, if you like your gifts this year, thank Santa, but maybe also Pahe, Mozu and Goku for making sure they were delivered in time for the holidays.

Watch the video to find out more

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